Archive for August, 2016

Wednesday 31st August 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on August 31, 2016 by bishshat


Poor Boys

Barclay James Harvest

It’s easy to see a poor boy’s blues
When he’s working every day
It’s harder to be there in his shoes
He was born to be that way
If I tell you tomorrow I’m leaving
Would you understand the reason why?
A poor boy works hard for his living
But a rich man he plays to pass the time
So goodbye, pleased to know you
We had some laughs along the way
But I have to be leaving
And there’s nothing you can do to make me stay
If I tell you tomorrow I’m leaving
Would you understand the reason why?
A poor boy works hard for his living
But a rich man he plays to pass the time
So goodbye, pleased to know you
We had some laughs along the way
But I have to be leaving
And there’s nothing you can do to make me stay

For No One

Barclay James Harvest

Please lay down your pistols and your rifles
Please lay down your colours and your creeds
Please lay down your thoughts of being no-one
Concentrate on what you ought to be
Then lay down your bullshit and your protests
Then lay down your governments of greed
Take a look at what lies all around you
Then pray God we can live in peace

Everyone’s a loner ’till he needs a helping hand
Everyone is everybody else
Everyone’s a no-one ’till he wants to make a stand
God alone knows how we will survive
So please lay down your pistols and your rifles
Please lay down your colours and your creeds
Please lay down your thoughts of being no-one
Concentrate on what you ought to be

Everyone’s a loner ’till he needs a helping hand
Everyone is everybody else
Everyone’s a no-one ’till he wants to make a stand
God alone knows how we will survive



Tuesday 30th August 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on August 30, 2016 by bishshat


Monday 29th August 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on August 29, 2016 by bishshat


The Devil’s Violinist

This is not the first venture of writer-director Bernard Rose into the world of classical musicians’ lives: in 1994 Rose was responsible for Immortal Beloved, the Beethoven biopic starring Gary Oldman. The Devil’s Violinist, starring superstar violinist David Garrett, follows the story of Niccolò Paganini’s colorful life in and out of the musical sphere. Paganini, ingenious violinist and composer of the nineteenth century, was at his most in-demand and powerful in 1830, when the bulk of the film’s action is set. It was then when Paganini made his debut in London, the primary setting for the film. The virtuoso’s manager Urbani (Jared Harris) becomes enraged when Paganini falls in love (for real this time – heretofore it has just been temporary lustful conquests) with showman John Watson’s daughter Charlotte, and goes forth to destroy the romance, continuing to manipulate Paganini as he sees fit. Paganini is depicted here as the nineteenth century equivalent of a rock star. He is said to have made a pact with the devil to achieve his immense talent and this is alluded to in the film as well, hence the title.

David Garrett, an ingenious violinist in his own right, comfortable with all musical genres, and longtime Paganini admirer, released his album Paganini Caprices in 1997 as well as the recent Garrett vs. Paganini inspired by The Devil’s Violinist. Throughout this film, Garrett as Paganini can be seen playing Paganini’s works on the violin, most notably Caprice No. 24. The featuring of an actual musician rather than an actor who would have to resort to fake-playing an instrument to a dubbed track by a true player, is quite an interesting artistic choice on the parts of director Rose and David Garrett. An additional sense of authenticity is provided and the audience is left with the sense of having watched a live concert that permeates the dramatic story up on the screen. This is especially satisfying when this experience includes David Garrett’s extraordinary playing.

Paganini in London-1831

Peter Sheppard Skaerved

On the 26th February 1829, the violinist Niccolo Paganini sat down to write a letter at his desk at his furnished lodgings at Friederikstr. 80, Berlin, an establishment run by Madame Noisez. It was addressed to the future Eleventh Earl of Westmoreland, John Fane (1784-1859), the Lord Burghersh. It seems likely that Paganini had known Westmoreland since 1818, when he had been the British Ambassador to Florence. Paganini’s connections to the Austrian diplomatic community in Italy, would very likely have given him entrée to the Salons where he could have met the diplomat. Burghersh was an enthusiastic amateur, a violinist and prolific composer, the author of no fewer than seven operas, some of which were produced at Florence during his time there; such was the power of the office. To any British musician, he is better known as the founder and first president of the Royal Academy of Music. From the tone of Paganini’s letter, it is clear that the career diplomat and the violinist had been plotting for some time how best to bring Paganini to London. However Paganini had been insistent on any trip to Britain being on his terms. This had been made crystal clear three years earlier when he had declined the invitation of the virtuosa soprano Angelica Catalani to take part on her tour to England. A note to his lawyer Luigi Guglielmo Germi, written in Naples made this crystal clear; he would not be anyone else’s support act:
“La Catalani would like to bind me to her company to London; but I do not want this.”
Now it, seemed, their plans were coming to fruition. Paganini wrote:
“Behold finally, the moment has come that I have longed for so much, to see London.”
In point of fact, ‘the moment’ was far from having arrived; Paganini would not arrive in the British Capital for over two years, having carefully stage-managed a perfect touchdown at the very peak of media, establishment and public expectation. The press campaign anticipating his arrival on these shores drove some to distraction. On the 22nd May 1821, The Age opined:
“This is indeed an age of humbug! When will it end? A crisis must now really be approaching. Who can read the paragraphs in the daily prints concerning this itinerant fiddler without being disgusted ‘usque ad nauseam’. The abominable puffing, the disgraceful caresses, and above all, the shameless profusion which ahs been lavished on this modest foreigner is really past all endurance.”


Paganini crossed the channel on the Dover packet on the 13th May 1831, arriving by stage in London at seven o’clock the next morning. Upong his arrival in London, Paganini took rooms at the Hotel Sablonière et Provence-Leicester Square. Sixteen years later, Hans Christian Andersen found himself in the same hotel, on his first visit to London. He noted that he had a “room looking out on the Garden, but the windows were so covered with soot, that my arms were soon covered with soot.” Within days of his arrival, it was being suggested that Paganini was encountering problems with his hotel’s infestations: “This string the rats at the Sabloniere have made free to nibble in two, and the Signior (sic) Paganini’s loss has nearly driven him frantic.” London would have been Paganini’s first encounter with an industrialising city, and it would surely have been a shock, as artists were still hiding from this reality. It took the brutal honesty of Gustave Doré’s unblinking views of the squalor and pollution of this rapidly changing metropolis, before the reality would be apparent to those who had yet to visit.

When he arrived, he was surrounded, instantly, by musicians and grandees associated with the Royal Academy of Music, which Burghesh had founded in 1823. These ranged from Viotti’s pupil, the violinist and gourmet Nicolas Mori, through to Sir George Smart, who would stage manage his later moves in the British Isles. By the summer of 1831, he was living in the fashionable Quadrant, which was built to disguise the curve of Regent Street, and where Smart himself also had rooms.
From the moment he played his first notes in London, in June 1831, Paganini’s impact would be profound, an impact that resonated far beyond the dates of his last performances in Britain, in 1834. One might argue, that from the time of his arrival, performance in Britain would never be the same again, and indeed, that he redefined the very notion of celebrity, just at the moment that the popular artists of the Victorian era, most especially, Charles Dickens, like Paganini a true solo performer with, whose first play, the Bloomsbury Christenings, was produced by the Adelphi Theatre, in 1835, the year after Paganini left.
A furore had erupted around the composer Carl Maria Von Weber following the first London production of Der Freischutz. His arrival in the capital in person in 1826, to supervise the production of Oberon, resulted in mass public hysteria that was not outdone until Paganini’s arrival in five years later. Of course, in Weber’s case, the hysteria was matched by tragedy; for all his enjoyment of the food, he caught a cold during a particularly noxious ‘London Particular’, and died in London. His body would not leave for ten years after Paganini’s departure; at the moment that the Genoan appeared in London, the cadaver was unceremoniously stored in the chapel of Moorfield’s hospital; some felt that Weber’s benevolent ghost smiled upon his whole enterprise, recognising a kindred spirit. Richard Lane seems to have felt just this. A shadowy presence hovers at the back of the orchestra/ensemble in his The Modern Orpheus; Nicolas Mori, standing at the back, has a face peering over his left shoulder. The face is wearing spectacles, and is almost indistinguishable from the famous John Cawse portrait of Weber, now in the Foundling Hospital collection. This artist was not alone; some listeners actually seemed to have felt that in Paganini, they were actually meeting one of Weber’s characters, in the flesh.
“His nose is aquiline, his chin much curved upward; his mouth singularly shaped; his forehead ample, and exceedingly characteristic; his eye small, but vivid, and particularly during the most difficult and inspired of his performances; his hair flowing, black and shining, and floating down the back and sides of his head, in long waving curls, giving this performance an air as peculiar and original as the wild hunter in ‘Der Freischutz’.”
Perhaps with more than a weather eye to emulating Weber’s success, the ground was carefully prepared; in the months leading up to Paganini’s arrival, a artfully orchestrated press campaign laid the fanned the flames of public interest, fascination, and especially, scandal. In the November 1830 edition of ‘The Harmonicon’, the following article appeared, purporting to have been extracted from the journal of an enthusiastic female fan, ‘from the diary of a Dilettante’. The writer clearly had a mind to the frenzy which had greeted his arrival in Vienna two years earlier:

“October 2nd. We shall talk of Paganini very much till he comes. When he arrives nobody will speak or think or think of anything else, for nine, perhaps eighteen days: he will be everywhere: all other violinists will be utterly forgotten: if will be agreed that he instrument was never before heard; that his predecessors were all tyros: all other fiddles mere kits. There will be Paganini Rondos and waltzes; variations, long, short, hard easy, all à la Paganini. We shall have Paganini hats, caps, &c.; and the hair of all the beaux patronised by beauty will be after his curious pattern. His influence will extend to our tables, and there will be Paganini puffs served up daily. Then, all at once, his very name will cease to be pronounced by persons of ton; and as a matter of course, people not of ton-not of the Devonshire circle, not of Almacks-will imitate those who are; and the Italian players, like the penultimate fashion, will be utterly forgotten!-in good society. I will even allow him to flourish here two whole months, provided no new chin-chopper arrive in the interim, no danseuse with a miraculous toe, to contest the supremacy of this wonderful bow: should any such rival enter the lists with him, his glory will set no less than a moon, and never blaze again above our fashionable horizon.”
This was no augury; the correspondent was merely reporting the furore which had erupted across Europe from the moment that Paganini had set forth north of the Alps. For over a decade and a half, rumours had been seeping out from Italy of a musician unlike any before. As early as 1816, virtuosi as accomplished as the French virtuoso, Charles-Philippe Lafont, who had succeeded Pierre Rode as the personal violinist to Tsar Alexander 1st, felt it necessary to ‘chance their arms’, and challenge this mysterious genius of the violin to trials of strength. Like those who had, two decades earlier, risked everything and challenged Beethoven in Vienna, these soon regretted their folly. Even in 1830, Lafont felt it necessary to avow that he had not been bested by the Genoan, as the stories of his humbling in 1816 began to circulate, or, more to the point, were circulated in the popular press in advance of Paganini’s arrival in London.
In April 1830, The Harmonicon published the following from Lafont:
“…far from making a cruel trial of the powers of my adversary, or of being beaten by him, as is pretended by the author of the Notice, I obtained a success the more flattering, as I was a stranger in the country.”
This letter was published a full year before Paganini’s arrival; by the time he arrived, such to-ing and fro-ing in the press had whipped up a veritable storm of expectation.
To get a taste of a city in the grip of’ ‘Paganini mania’, it is necessary to go back to his home town, to the beautiful city Genoa, where, he and his violin, are the municipal mascots, trumping even the presence of what was long averred to be the Holy Grail, an emerald green glass bowl, kept in the tresorio of the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. Quite apart from the annual music festival in his name, the Paganiniana, the city sports Paganini bakeries, restaurants, pet shops, chocolate shops, even a Casa Paganini which has absolutely nothing to do with his childhood, but, nonetheless succeeds in fooling nearly everyone.
The very use of the word ‘celebrity’ was a product of the age, Paganini was one first ‘celebrities’ , as she called them, to be exhibited in the Madame Tussaud’s newly opened ‘Baker Street Bazaar’ when it opened in 1835, the year after his final departure. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word only found its way into literature thirteen years later. A line in Mrs Craik’s novel, Olgivies, written in 1846, includes the usage as we would recognise it. “Did you see any of those ‘celebrities’ as you call them?” Madame Tussaud would have smiled to find her coinage in general use, and would also, I suspect, approve of the success of Paganini’s publicity in Genoa.
In London, the press campaign worked a treat. Very soon real diarists, both dilettantes and professionals, were noting their excitement. On the 13th May 1831, the young singer, painter and pianist, John Orlando Parry wrote in his private journal, ‘Remarks on things in general’:
“That wonder of wonders, viz “Paganni”, arrived in the Country! He does the most inconceivable things on the Violin-He is going to give a Concert on the 21st-all the world will be there.”
Whether or not, all the world was there, when “Paganni” finally gave his debut, two weeks after originally advertised, Parry’s excitement was shared by the spectacle loving public in London. By the time, he came to paint his extraordinary homage to the London billboard, The Posterman in 1835, he had also learnt how to spell his name. In the same week, Parry reported ‘Electioneering in all parts of England’, as the calls for reform grew louder, the return of the great Pasta, undiminished in ‘power or sweetness’, supported by Paganini’s friend, the great Lablache and Rubini, and a ‘Seven Act!’, opera on the subject of Napoleon at Covent Garden. Despite such tumultuous week in politics and the arts, it was clear that nothing excited him as much as the arrival of solitary violinist, ‘that wonder of wonders’.
Parry’s expectations, and the anticipation of the whole of musical London, were fulfilled. No visiting artist, before or since, made such an impact across such a broad audience. One month later, a few weeks after Paganini’s debut, and his acclaim as the ‘Modern Orpheus’, ‘The Playgoer’ noted:
“But even after what we have heard, how are we to endure hereafter our violins and their players? How can we consent t hear them? How crude they will sound, how uniformed, how like a cheat! When the Italian goes away, violin-playing goes with him, unless some disciple of his should arise among us and detain a semblance of his instrument. As it is, the most masterly performance, hitherto so accounted, must consent to begin again, and be little boys in his school.”
Sources: N Paganini, Epistolario 1810-1831, Sjira 2006, The Age, London. Sunday, May 22nf 1831, A Musical Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland, Gerald Norris, David and Charles, H.C.Andersens Dagboger, III, 1845-1850, Trewman’s Exeter Flying Post: or Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser, Vol LXX No 3422, Thursday June 9th, 1831, The Harmonicon, vol VIII, n 4, April 1830, 13th May 1831, Orlando Parry ‘Remarks on things in general’, The playgoer 25th June 1831.

Niccolo Paganini


The Italian violinist and composer Niccolo Paganin (1782-1840) inaugurated the century of the virtuoso and was its brightest star. He laid the foundation of modern violin technique.

Niccolo Paganini was born on Oct. 27, 1782, in Genoa of musically ambitious parents. At the age of 9 he made his debut playing to an enthusiastic audience his own variations on La Carmagnole. He studied with Giacomo Costa. When Niccolo was taken to the famous violinist Alessandro Rolla, the latter declared he had nothing to teach him. Nevertheless, Niccolo did study violin for a while, as well as composition and instrumentation. At the age of 14 he freed himself from his father.

Paganini’s career was checkered: gambling, love affairs, rumors of his being in league with the devil, and rumors of imprisonment, which he frequently denied in letters to the press. In love with a Tuscan noblewoman, he retired to her palace, where he became completely absorbed in the guitar from 1801 to 1804. On returning to the violin he performed a love duet by using two strings of the violin and then surpassed this by playing a piece for the G string alone.


In 1816 Paganini appeared in a “contest” in Milan with Charles Philippe Lafont and later remarked, “Lafont probably surpassed me in tone but the applause which followed my efforts convinced me that I did not suffer by comparison.” Paganini’s success in Vienna in 1828 led to a cult in which everything was a la Paganini. Similar triumphs followed in Paris and London. In 1833 he invited Hector Berlioz to write a piece for him for the viola; Harold en Italie was the result. Paganini played frequent concerts for the relief of indigent artists. In 1836 he became involved in a Parisian gambling house; government interference led to bankruptcy and permanently damaged his health. He died on May 27, 1840, in Nice.


Even when Paganini was playing Mozart and Beethoven, he could not restrain himself from brilliant embellishments. The violinist made innovations in harmonics and pizzicato and revived the outmoded mistunings. Although he took a giant step forward in scope of technique, he paradoxically did this while holding the violin in the low 18th-century style and using a straight bow of the late Mozart period, which the Parisian violin maker Jean Baptiste Vuillaume persuaded him to give up. Although it is generally assumed that the modern technique is far “superior” to that of the 19th century, this is belied by the fact that many passages in Paganini are still scarcely playable.

Paganini’s best pieces—Violin Concertos No. 1 and No. 2, the Witches’ Dance, and the 24 Caprices—are firmly in the repertoire. Because he jealously guarded his technical secrets for fear they would be stolen, only his 24 Caprices and some music for guitar were published during his lifetime.

Sunday 28th August 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on August 28, 2016 by bishshat


I asked a group of 5-6 years during storm what comes first. The thunder or the lightning? Young Freddie said The Rain!


Fleetwood Mac

Now here you go again
You say you want your freedom
Well, who am I to keep you down?
It’s only right that you should
Play the way you feel it
But listen carefully to the sound
Of your loneliness

Like a heartbeat.. drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering what you had
And what you lost…
And what you had…
And what you lost

Thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Say… Women… they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean… you’ll know, you’ll know

Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions
I keep my visions to myself
It’s only me
Who wants to wrap around your dreams and…
Have you any dreams you’d like to sell?
Dreams of loneliness…

Like a heartbeat… drives you mad…
In the stillness of remembering what you had…
And what you lost…
And what you had…
And what you lost

Daniel Lambert

Daniel Lambert was born in Leicester on March 13th 1770. His family were of country stock gamekeepers, huntsmen and field sportsmen. His uncle was gamekeeper to the Earl of Stamford, and his great-uncle was huntsman to the earl of Stamford. Daniel’s father, John Lambert, was the keeper of the County Bridewell or House of Correction in Highcross St. John Lambert had another son who died young and two daughters. Daniel never married and died childless.

When Daniel was fourteen he was sent as an apprentice to Benjamin Patrick, a diesinker in Birmingham’s jewellery quarter. He was with the firm for seven years, and was probably taught the skilled side of the business including engraving and letter-cutting. Patrick’s business may have been destroyed in the famous Birmingham riots of 1791 as his name disappears from Birmingham trades directories at this time. Seven years would also mark the completion of a traditional apprenticeship. Daniel Lambert returned to Leicester where he took over from his father as Keeper of the Bridewell.


Bridewells or Houses of Correction began in 1576. They were named after and modelled on the Bridewell prison in London and run by local magistrates. Originally places for vagrants and people thought to be idle, by the time of John and Daniel Lambert, Bridewells had become prisons for all sorts of minor offenders. Keepers were expected to exact labour from their prisoners both as punishment and to supplement their pay.

Daniel Lambert and his father were both Keepers of the County Bridewell in Leicester. There was a town Bridewell as well. The salary was £21 a year. In 1784 the County Bridewell consisted of three rooms for male prisoners and five for female prisoners. John Howard, the prison reformer, who visited the County Bridewell in that year, noted that improvements had been made since a previous visit. Prisoners were no longer held with chains whilst taking exercise and the court in which they exercised had been enlarged. The Bridewell was “whitewashed once a year and kept remarkably neat and clean. The prisoners do not lie on the floors, …very properly their mats are on cribs or bedsteads”. Lists of prisoners showing Daniel Lambert’s signature are presented in the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland.


Lives of Daniel Lambert written after his death suggest that he was a kindly gaoler who looked after his prisoners. James Neale who inspected English prisons in 1803 referred to Daniel’s “constitutional propensity to ease…He is spoken of as a humane, benevolent man but I thought him a very improper person to be the Keeper of a prison”. The prisoners certainly appear to have loved him. According to a life of Daniel published in 1809 he made “the greatest exertions to assist them (the prisoners) at the time of their trials. Few left the prison without testifying their gratitude, and tears often spoke the sincerity of the feelings they expressed”. He also pleased the magistrates and they granted him a pension when the County Bridewell was amalgamated with the County prison in 1804 and his services were no longer required.

As a lad, Daniel Lambert was healthy and athletic. A good swimmer from the age of eight, he taught many Leicester children to swim in the River Soar. As an adult he had an excellent reputation as a field sportsman. He bred cocks and dogs including setters and pointers. When his Kennel was sold in 1806 his dogs, including “Peg”, “Punch”, “Bounce” and “Brush”, fetched high prices. A Mr Mellish bought “Peg”, a black setter bitch, for 41 guineas. His greyhounds were with him when he died.

Postcard Rowlandson, 4th May 1806.

In 1807 the Sporting Magazine published “Biographical and sporting anecdotes of the famous Mr Lambert”, the source for which may have been Lambert himself. This tells us that he was fond of riding until his weight prevented it, and “till within these five years he was extremely active in all sports of the field”. It includes the most authentic account of his encounter with a bear, which ended when he “struck [the bear] with his left hand such a violent blow on the skull, as brought her to the ground, on which she declined the contest, and yelling, fled.”

Factors influencing weight increase are genetics (family history), environment (what people eat) and disease. Daniel Lambert had an uncle and aunt who were “very heavy” but his immediate family were of more usual proportions. It is said that he did not drink alcohol and never ate more than one dish at meals, but his increase in weight seems to date from his move to the County Bridewell, work which involved little exercise. In 1793 he turned the scale at 32 stone. However he remained active in field sports until 1801 or 1802. In 1804 he already weighed over 49 stone, and at the end of 1806, when the Leicester Journal announced his departure on tour, he was on a diet but “still increases in bulk”.


According to modern doctors, Daniel Lambert appears to have had primary obesity, which occurs without other disease being present. This is normally caused by too much high-calorie food combined with a sedentary lifestyle. Daniel’s condition could probably now be controlled. At the end of his life his sheer size caused him considerable discomfort, though he remained cheerful. His movements were restricted and he could no longer climb stairs, special arrangements had to be made when he travelled.

In March 1806 the Stamford Mercury reported that Daniel Lambert was having a carriage specially built “to convey himself to London where he means to exhibit himself as a natural curiosity”. He arrived in London in April and took an apartment at 53 Piccadilly. He then weighed 50 stone and the Leicester Journal, announcing his departure, remarked on his “good sense and social disposition”. During his stay in London he sat for the artist Ben Marshall (cover photograph). The two men became friends. Ben Marshall christened his son Lambert, and, when his first son died, the second was christened Lambert too.

There are signs that Daniel did not relish his peep-show existence. After five months in London he returned to Leicester in September 1806 and lived there privately. At this time a caller asking about some cocks, received the message “tell the gentleman I am a shy-cock”. However in December he went on tour again, leaving for Birmingham, Hinckley, Coventry and other places. In the Spring of 1807 and 1808 he paid further visits to London. In Leicester he received company in October 1807 “during the fair, at Mr Scott’s, grocer, in the Market Place”. At Stamford where he died, he had sent for a printer so that he could give instructions for handbills to be printed as, according to the Stamford Mercury he was “intending to receive the visits of the curious who might attend the ensuing races”.


Daniel Lambert’s standard admission fee was one shilling (5 pence), which was a considerable sum, perhaps intended to keep the vulgar away. There are suggestions that souvenirs were sold on these occasions. Captain AF Wingard who visited London to purchase rifles for the Swedish government in 1808 records a visit with a fellow countryman who purchased a picture “of this hideous mass of flesh…when we saw the man together”. He may have showed himself in order to earn a living. The profits of selling his kennel would not have lasted indefinitely and the nature of his pension is uncertain.

The special financial needs of someone of his size must have included extra servant costs at home and on tour as well as specially-made carriages and clothes. There is a hint of this in his reply to a woman who asked him the cost of his coat. He replied “if you think if proper to make me a present of a new coat, you will then know exactly what it costs.”

Daniel repelled personal questions that he thought impertinent. He also disliked people who tried to see him without paying or during times when he chose to live privately. When a visitor obtained a personal interview with him on the pretext of asking advice about a horse, received the deserved reply “She (the horse) was got by impertinence out of curiosity”. He also disliked being weighed. One story describes how “Going however one day to Loughborough in a carriage into which he was obliged to get sideways, by a preconceived plan of some of his friends he was taken over a weighing machine, to his no small mortification”.


In June 1809 Daniel after a tour that included Cambridge and Huntingdon Daniel Lambert arrived in Stamford for the races. He lodged at the Waggon and Horses Inn in St.Martins, and died suddenly at 9 o’clock on Wednesday 21st June. There was no autopsy and he was buried two days later, though “his remains had been kept quite as long as was prudent”. His body was taken out of the ground floor room in which he had been accommodated, by demolishing the wall. His coffin was built on wheels and contained 112 feet of elm wood. “Upwards of twenty men” lowered it down a ramp into his grave in St. Martin’s Churchyard.

In his day, cartoonists depicted Daniel Lambert with pride as a British Champion. Already a folk legend before he died, his popularity has not diminished with the years. A wax model of Lambert found its way to America and was shown in the Mix Museum in New Haven in 1813 and later in P. T. Barnum’s famous American Museum. He took his place in 19th century accounts of the curious and wonderful and appears as a symbol of hugeness in the novels of Thackeray. Pubs and restaurants are still named after him. Clothes and personal items genuinely or dubiously associated with him have always found a ready market. He is still enormously popular as response to museum exhibits about him and media coverage show.

Daniel Lambert’s wider fame was due to his size. However in Leicester, then a town with a population of only 17,000, he was well-known as the Bridewell Keeper and as a country sportsman and respected for his personality. He was “replete with anecdote, and of a lively turn of mind…with a choice selection of words, and a variety of subjects”. Daniel Lambert’s life and personal relics offer an insight into the social history of his time, and allow us to commemorate as a sympathetic figure. It is fitting to conclude with this sketch of Lambert in life, which was collected in the 19th century from Dick Christian the famous Leicestershire horse-breaker:

“I knew Dan, and he knew me, he was dressed like a groom, and lived quite private; he’d hardly be at this full growth then, there’d not be much more than 40 stone of him… Many’s the time I’ve talked to him in Stamford cockpit, he could set a cock uncommonly well for all he could hardly get near the table for his bulk, he was a cheery man in company but shyish of being looked at.”


Labyrinth of Lies

It’s 1958, Johann Radmann is a young and idealistic public prosecutor who takes an interest in the case of Charles Schulz, a former Auschwitz extermination camp commander, who is now teaching at a school in Frankfurt am Main. Radmann is determined to bring Schulz to justice, but he finds his efforts frustrated because many former Nazis serve in the government, and they look out for each other.

df507aab26da9b257d509093742f30fdYalan Labirenti - The Labyrinth of Lies

His boss, the prosecutor-general Fritz Bauer, puts him in charge of investigating former workers at the Auschwitz camp. The U.S. occupation forces give him access to their files and he discovers there were 8,000 of them. He goes after Josef Mengele, who is living in Argentina but flies back to West Germany at will to visit his family. After officialdom block his attempt to issue an arrest warrant, his boss warns him off and tells him to stick to the small fry. The department then invites Mossad agents to visit, and shares its information with them. As a result, Adolf Eichmann is kidnapped and tried in Israel. Having pulled off this coup, Israel declines to pursue Mengele.


Meanwhile, Radmann allows himself to be seduced by Marlene, a seamstress who, benefiting from his connections, is able to start a business as a dress designer. He is brought to a crisis when he discovers that his own father was in the Nazi party. After he tells her that her father too was in the Nazi party she breaks off with him, but by the end of the film there is a chance she will have him back. He resigns his official post and goes to work for an industrialist, but when he finds this means working with a colleague who had defended a former Nazi he was investigating, he walks out. After going to Auschwitz to say kaddish, the Jewish mourning prayer, for a friend’s two daughters who were killed there, he goes back to work for the West German state prosecutor. The film ends with the opening of the trial of several hundred former Auschwitz workers.

Saturday 27th August 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on August 27, 2016 by bishshat

Danny Rose’s second-half strike gave Tottenham a point after Liverpool looked on course for a second successive away win in north London.

Liverpool beat Arsenal 4-3 at Emirates Stadium on the opening weekend of the Premier League season and were in control through James Milner’s penalty, scored just before the break after Erik Lamela fouled Philippe Coutinho.

Tottenham goalkeeper Michel Vorm had earlier saved brilliantly from Coutinho, and Joel Matip had glanced a header off the bar, as Liverpool tried to make the most of their superiority.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side finally roused themselves and after Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet saved superbly from Toby Alderweireld’s header, Rose arrived at the far post to take Eric Dier’s cross under control and drive in a low finish to earn Spurs a point.

Jurgen Klopp’s reign as Liverpool manager started at White Hart Lane last October in a game that ended in a draw – the result may have been the same here but this is much more like the German’s side.

Liverpool still have a maddening streak of inconsistency that sees them deliver results such as the 2-0 defeat at Burnley last week but this performance, and the opening weekend win at Arsenal, are significant signposts for the future.


Here, Liverpool will feel they should have had the three points wrapped up before Spurs finally showed some of their true form to come back and get a point.

Liverpool played with more energy and urgency for the first hour, pressurising Spurs as Klopp demands, and had a volley from Sadio Mane not been disallowed for offside the home side may well have struggled to secure a point.

Klopp urged on in typically animated fashion and it was only a lack of a killer touch from his side that prevented another victory.

Klopp was able to give summer signing Matip a taste of Premier League life as he wrestled with Vincent Janssen, while the pace and goal threat of Mane gives Liverpool an extra dimension – although he sailed very close to the wind after getting a yellow card in the first half.

It was another day of frustration for Daniel Sturridge, however, restricted to a three-minute appearance as a substitute as the clock ran down.

As Match Of The Day pundit Martin Keown said, Liverpool remain a work in progress – but this showed they are making strides forward after Klopp made his bow here last season.

Tottenham have laboured so far this season, even though they still remain unbeaten after three Premier League games.

They were second best to Liverpool for an hour and there was as much relief as celebration around White Hart Lane when Rose drove in that equaliser.


Harry Kane made a slow start last season so there is no cause for concern but he struggled again and was substituted even though Spurs were trying to force a winner after getting back in the game.

Burly summer signing Janssen will take time to adapt and while Victor Wanyama, bought from Southampton, is an effective destructive force rather than a creator.

One significant statistic proves how much Spurs miss the injured Moussa Dembele – Kane has scored 24 goals in 27 games playing with him and one in 12 without him.

Spurs have plenty of room for improvement – and they have the quality, determination and the manager to be back to their best sooner rather than later.



Morgan had hidden what he called The Baby Jesus in the China collection.


I was well pleased with my finished sewing today.



Finn (Matt O’Leary) is a painter with a creative block, who lives together with his girlfriend Callie (Danielle Panabaker) and his best friend Jasper (George Finn) in an apartment complex where Finn works as a manager. Because the elderly tenant, Mr. Bezzerides (informally called “Mr. B” by the protagonists), across the way has not paid his rent in two months, Callie goes to check on him, and discovers a strange machine in his apartment that takes Polaroid photos of their living room’s picture window—apparently 24 hours in the future, always at 8 pm, although Mr. B’s photo display includes daytime photos. The friends check Mr. B’s storage unit and find his inexplicably charred corpse; he has apparently been dead for a week. Gambling addict Jasper pushes to use the machine to win bets, as he usually loses, and the next day’s photo confirms they will do just that. It also shows that Finn has finally created a new painting; copying the work in the photo gets him past his block. Based on what happened to Mr. B and notes in his journal, they realize they have to make sure the events in the photos—whatever they may be—have to occur, or their timeline will stop, and they will therefore cease to be.

Several days go by. The friends cover up Mr. B’s disappearance, including lying to the complex security guard, Big Joe, claiming the old man is in the hospital. After a week they get a disturbing photo: Callie kissing Jasper, while Finn paints in the background. The actual kiss goes on too long while Finn paints, and he gets angry and jealous. Jasper’s violent bookie Ivan learns of the machine, and forces the friends to now pose for the photos with many more event results for Ivan to make bets on. Finn and Jasper’s friendship is strained by these events, as Ivan will be keeping each night’s photo, preventing Finn from seeing his painting. Even so, Jasper gets a cellphone picture of the next photo before giving it to Ivan’s goon, Marcus. This photo shows a hastily made skull and crossbones on the canvas, which Jasper believes is a warning to themselves.


The next evening, Finn runs into Big Joe at the gate, who has just gotten a job as a police officer. Marcus sees their meeting and calls Ivan, who does not believe their story about Big Joe just dropping off his keys. Ivan threatens all of them, but Jasper convinces him that tonight’s new photo is of Ivan’s death. While Ivan is retrieving the photo, Jasper stabs Marcus, then clubs Ivan to death on his return. They hide the bodies in Mr. B’s storage unit. Finn and Callie fight, so Finn sleeps on the couch. Later that night, they are visited by Mr. B’s colleague, Dr. Heidecker, who levels a gun at Finn and Jasper and forces them to reveal events. Mr. B had mailed Heidecker a photo that covers the next night, but taken before his death, showing blood on the window and Mr. B’s hat on the friends’ couch (Jasper has taken to wearing the dead man’s hat). As she does not know how to adjust the settings of the machine, Jasper shoots Heidecker dead using Ivan’s gun.

The next night’s photo shows Callie and Jasper having sex in the window. Finn talks to Jasper, trying to figure out a way to prevent events, but Jasper knocks him out and locks him in Mr. B’s storage—he intends to prevent a paradox and make sure the photo happens, no matter what. Finn escapes and threatens to destroy the machine if Jasper does not stop. A fight ensues, culminating with Callie smashing Jasper’s head in. When making the painting to match Heidecker’s photo, Finn realizes a discrepancy. He discovers that the camera also takes a photo at 8 am, a truth which Callie kept to herself. Callie reveals that she has been using the morning photo to send herself messages to manipulate events and rekindle her relationship with Finn; the sex photo is one of those missing from Mr. B’s wall, from a drunken night a month ago. Finn rejects Callie and goes to destroy the machine, so she shoots him, creating the blood splatter on the window from Heidecker’s photo. While Callie is attempting to send herself another message to change the timeline, Big Joe stops by, discovers the murdered Jasper and Finn, and arrests her.

As Callie is led away by Joe – confident that the timeline will reset – the note she left falls off the window, making permanent the events that have taken place. The final scene is of the camera taking a photo which is left unrevealed.


In a quiet residential complex, caretaker manager Finn (Matt O’Leary) together with his girlfriend Callie (Danielle Panabaker) and best friend Jasper (George Finn) investigate the apartment of a dead scientist, only to discover a mysterious camera pointed directly at their living room window capable of taking photos 24 hours into the future. Rather than calling the police, the housemates use the device to make their wildest dreams come true, but after exploiting the camera for personal gain they soon find themselves blindly recreating whatever future the photos show them, or else risk the perils of messing with time, in this paradox-filled sci-fi thriller.

As part of his research, the dead scientist (Mr Bezzerides) set his strange device to take a photo of the housemates’ lounge at 8pm each night, but one day when apparently tinkering with his camera and viewing events even further forward he is horrified to see a Polaroid taken 2 weeks into the future appearing to depict his own death. The photo shows a blood stained window, the scientist’s hat on the sofa, and a painting of a thorium canister, and whilst investigating his basement lock-up where the thorium is kept he accidentally causes the accident which leads to his own demise. The whole story we subsequently see in Time Lapse is the series of events which ultimately lead up to that photo depicting the scientist’s apparent murder.


Meanwhile, we get to see the trio of friends use the camera for their own selfish purposes, including Finn using the photos to overcome artist’s block and reveal his next future painting, Jasper making bundles of cash betting on the following day’s racing results, and Callie earning enough money to give up her waiting job and focus on becoming an author. We later find out Callie had discovered the device also takes another photo at 8am and after removing all the photos on the scientist’s wall showing her secret affair with Jasper months earlier, she then starts using the 8am morning photo shoot to communicate with herself, and send/messages in order to shape events and rekindle her relationship with Finn.

Bootstrap Paradox

In any story involving backward time travel we can expect a number of confusing paradoxes to occur. In the case of Time Lapse, these involve a series of daily bootstrap or ontological paradoxes in which information, rather than a person, is sent back in time to create a circular loop in which the information does not appear to have a discernible point of origin. Examples in the movie include Finn’s paintings, which he create only after seeing them in a future photo showing them already painted, raising the question where did the inspiration for the paintings come from in the first place? Other bootstrap paradoxes include Callie’s messages to herself, such as reminding herself to knock over the coat rack for the photo because she saw a future photo with the coat rack lying on the floor, an idea which has no discernible point of origin. Jasper’s gambling results are a further example of a bootstrap paradox as in true chicken-and-egg fashion the camera provides all the results, and Jasper then simply stands in front of the camera with the results written on a board before writing them down and sending the information back to himself 24 hours earlier.


Self-fulfilling Prophecy

There also appears to be strong elements of self-fulfilling prophecy in the story, with the characters receiving a photo from 24 hours in the future (prophesy) before setting about fulfilling the scene in the exact same way as shown. Perhaps, Mr Bezzerides provides the most extreme example of a self-fulfilling prophecy as he thinks he sees his own death two weeks into the future before mailing the photo to his colleague Dr. Heidecker and setting off to inadvertently cause the very accident which kills him. In fact, Time Lapse appears replete with numerous examples of predestination paradoxes as at no point in the movie do the characters ever seem to deviate from the future events which are shown to them. Furthermore, when Callie does try to stick a ‘DON’T GET CAUGHT IN THE WINDOW’ (by Finn at 8am) note on the window at the end of the story, the message falls off thus ensuring the future depicted in the photo of the scientist’s apparent murder remains exactly the same.

Can They Change The Future?

Early on in the movie, Callie explains to Finn and Jasper her belief that failing to obey the events shown in the photos would ultimately lead to their ending up like Mr Bezzerides. As she describes whilst sketching her timeline drawing:

“The camera spits out a photo of us in the future. Then we go about our day making a series of decisions that lead up to that moment. But, if we deviate from those decisions, then this photo never happens, which means us, the people who saw the original photo can’t go forward because our futures don’t exist anymore [glancing over at Mr Bezzerides hat on the stand].”


As a result, the trio of friends use the device to receive photos from themselves 24 hours into the future before passing on the same message to their past selves 24 hours in the past to keep the timeline from being altered. In other words, Callie promotes the idea that they cannot change the future and if they don’t perform the actions seen in the photo then they will either end up incinerated like Mr Bezzerides, or simply cease to exist on their own timeline.

However, we later discover Callie believes no such thing and had been using the 8am photo shoot to pass messages to herself in order to manipulate events and salvage her relationship with Finn. She’d also switched around some of the 8pm photos shown to Finn and Casper, and at the end of the movie after the Jasper/Finn fight, sends a photo message to herself with the instruction to now swap the affair photo with one showing the charades night (SWAP PHOTO TO CHARADE NIGHT). As a result, while the evening 8pm timeline appears to follow a predetermined and inevitable pattern, the morning 8am timeline appears flexible, full of possibilities and subject to manipulation by Callie, the real manipulator of events in the movie.


Can Callie Actually Change The Past?

Throughout the movie Callie had been using the device to receive and send photos to herself at 8am so as to manipulate the timeline and fix her relationship with Finn. Examples include messages such as KISS JASPER TOO LONG, GO WITH FINN TO CAR, DON’T FORGIVE FINN, etc.

Near the end of the movie Finn catches Callie at the window at 8am sending a message to herself saying SWAP PHOTO TO CHARADE NIGHT, KILL JASPER TO SAVE FINN, resulting in Finn feeling betrayed and wanting to destroy the machine and end his relationship with her. However, Callie continues to believe she can change her present by changing the past, and after killing Finn to stop him walking out on her subsequently tries to change the 8pm ‘police marked crime scene’ photo by sticking a note on the window saying DON’T GET CAUGHT IN THE WINDOW. In other words, she tries to prevent Finn from finding out about her 8am photo shoot as she believes this will prevent the argument which resulted in Finn trying to walk out on her. Callie’s assumption is that by causing the past to change, the present will adjust accordingly, and presumably the day she had just experienced would turn out differently.

Revised or Predetermined Timeline?

On the face of it, Callie’s belief she can change the past seems to be a misconception because as far as we witness none of the events in Time Lapse were ever altered from those shown in the photos, and if her plan of sticking the note on the window had worked it clearly would have resulted in the photo showing Mr Bezzerides’ apparent death being changed to one slightly different from the one seen by his colleague, Dr. Heidecker. Nevertheless, Callie seems convinced that changing events is possible, for instance when she swapped the ‘police tape’ photo for the one of Jasper and her having sex, or when she tells Finn “It’s gonna be OK. We won’t remember any of this tomorrow”.

Time Lapse (2014) ExplainedOn the one hand, Callie’s belief that she can alter her own timeline doesn’t seem to be borne out by anything that is shown in the movie and it is just as likely that had she succeeded in changing events she would probably have created an alternate timeline where she was not caught at the window, and Finn and her did escape together. In her own timeline, however, Finn would still be dead and there would still be an extremely messy crime scene for the police to investigate.

At the same time its equally possible the version of events we see in Time Lapse are only the ones showing Callie’s successful changes and, unlike many other time travel movies, Callie’s repeats and alterations that she successfully managed to make are not shown. In other words, we are not shown Callie’s alterations which cause a ripple effect and reset the preset. As to whether events were predetermined in Time Lapse, or if the photos could be changed, director Bradley D. King in a revealing interview with Taylor Holmes said:

“In spite of Heidecker’s explanation, Jasper obviously believes there is no way to alter the photos. Finn seems to have come around to the possibility that things can be altered, but only out of desperation, and it seems to me that when he packs that suitcase he’s still not 100% sure what might happen. And then of course Callie obviously is convinced that things can be changed, which probably came out of her experience of doing things behind the scenes and feeling a sense of empowerment from that. But who’s right? I think the question is definitely more interesting than any answer I could give. In my own imagination I have definitely explored both ways, and both are interesting.”

Timeline of Events:

1: Callie discovers Mr Bezzerides dead inside his apartment and an unusual camera which takes photos 24 hours into the future at 8pm everyday.

2: After Jasper suggests that the trio (Callie, Finn, Jasper) use the camera to win money gambling, the first photo produced shows the next day’s racing results, as well as a new painting by Finn. Wary of the fate which befell Mr Bezzerides, they then assume they must now enact all the events depicted in the photo or else risk annihilation.

3: The trio hide Mr Bezzerides’s death from complex security guard, Big Joe.

4: One week later they receive a photograph of Callie kissing Jasper.

5: Jasper’s gangster bookie Ivan discovers the camera and forces the trio to pose for photos showing him which races and runners to gamble upon. After seeing a photo of a skull and crossbones painted onto one of Finn’s works, Jasper interprets this as a warning and while the trio are being threatened by Ivan, subsequently manages to kill him and his henchman Marcus before dumping their bodies off in Mr Bezzerides’s storage unit.

6: Dr. Heidecker shows up after receiving a photograph of her colleague, Mr Bezzerides, and his hat placed on a sofa near the bloodstained window of the trio’s apartment. The photo depicts the events scheduled for the following day, but Jasper deals with the situation by killing Dr. Heidecker.

7: Finn discovers a photograph showing Callie and Jasper having sex which he assumes will take place the following night, and then tries to argue and stop the event from happening.

8: Jasper attacks and locks Finn inside Mr Bezzerides’s storage unit, after which Finn manages to escape and threatens to destroy the camera. Jasper almost kills Finn but Callie rescues him by bashing Jasper’s head in.

9: Finn catches Callie sending an 8am photo to herself with the messages SWAP PHOTO TO CHARADE NIGHT, and KILL JASPER TO SAVE FINN. Callie then comes clean and admits that she had been using the hitherto secret 8am photo shot to shape events and rescue her relationship with Finn.

10: Finn determines to destroy the camera, but Callie subsequently shots him resulting in the blood splatter seen in the original photo Mr Bezzerides sent to Dr. Heidecker (taken some time between 8am and 8pm but not at those specific times). Having already taken an 8am photo, Callie then tries to change the 8pm photo which should show a police taped crime scene, with one of her holding a sign stating DON’T GET CAUGHT IN THE WINDOW.

11: Big Joe shows up and discovers the murdered bodies of Jasper and Finn and so arrests Callie. While she is lead away her message falls off the window indicating the camera will not record the note, events will not be altered, and she will go to jail for multiple murders. The movie ends with the initial scene depicted in the photo sent to Dr. Heidecker unchanged.


Friday 26th August 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on August 26, 2016 by bishshat



Van Halen

I get up, and nothing gets me down.
You got it tough. I’ve seen the toughest all around.
And I know, baby, just how you feel.
You’ve got to roll with the punches to get to what’s real
Oh can’t you see me standing here,
I’ve got my back against the record machine
I ain’t the worst that you’ve seen.
Oh can’t you see what I mean?
Might as well jump. Jump!
Might as well jump.
Go ahead, jump. Jump!
Go ahead, jump.
Aaa-ohh Hey you! Who said that?
Baby how you been?
You say you don’t know, you won’t know until you begin.
Well can’t you see me standing here,
I’ve got my back against the record machine
I ain’t the worst that you’ve seen.
Oh can’t you see what I mean?
Might as well jump. Jump!
Go ahead, jump.
Might as well jump. Jump!
Go ahead, jump.

Might as well jump. Jump!
Go ahead, jump.
Get it and jump. Jump!
Go ahead, jump.


Jump is a song by the American rock band Van Halen. It was released in December 1983 as the lead single from their album 1984. It is Van Halen’s most successful single to date reaching number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The song differs from earlier Van Halen songs in that it is driven by a rolling synth line (played on an Oberheim OB-Xa), although the song does contain a guitar solo, which was spliced together from multiple takes.
David Lee Roth dedicated the song to martial artist Benny Urquidez, of whom he was a student.
The synth line was written around 1981 by Eddie Van Halen but it was refused by the other members of the band. In 1983, producer Ted Templeman asked Roth to take a listen to the unused song idea. Riding around in the back of his 1951 Mercury, with band roadie Larry Hostler driving, Roth listened repeatedly to the song. To come up with a lyric for it, he remembered seeing a television news report the night before about a man who was threatening to commit suicide by jumping off of a high building. Roth thought that one of the onlookers of such a scene would probably shout “go ahead and jump”. Roth bounced this suggestion off Hostler who agreed it was good. Instead of being about a threatened suicide, the words were written as an invitation to love. Roth later told Musician magazine that Hostler was “probably the most responsible for how it came out.”
This stylistic change was further cemented when it seemed to create severe tensions between Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth. This conflict eventually ended in Roth’s departure from the band. In the 1995 Rolling Stone cover story on/interview with Eddie Van Halen (RS #705, dated April 6) the circumstances surrounding Roth’s leaving are discussed. In this interview Eddie claims that the main reason for the split was that Roth and [long-time Van Halen producer] Ted Templeman both disliked the fact that he had built his own studio and was able to work on music away from their influence. He said that “the first thing I did up here was ‘Jump’ and they [Roth and Templeman] didn’t like it. I said ‘take it or leave it’, I was getting sick of their ideas of what was commercial … At first [Roth’s solo EP] Crazy from the Heat was great because Roth laid off me a bit. Little did I know he was testing the waters. Then he called me up and asked me to go to his house and said he was going to make a Crazy from the Heat movie. He had some deal that fell through. But at the time I was depressed. I cried, then I called my brother and told him the guy quit.”
Nevertheless, Roth and Templeman did work on “Jump” at Eddie’s disputed new studio, with Roth providing the lyrics and the vocal melody.


Thursday 25th August 2016

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on August 25, 2016 by bishshat

106 people today in the art space and so hot.